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Re: CFP Costs Too Much!

It should be noted that journalists aren't the only people eligible for
free admission.  There's a scholarship program open to students/hackers/etc.
If you can't get in free (it's obviously too late now), or otherwise be
sponsored by an employer or other, the pricey fee does tend to exclude people
who would otherwise benefit the conference and vice versa.
What I can suggest, knowing the hotel it's going to be at (same as first),
is hang out in the spacious lobby and mingle/eat/drink/etc.  A number of
people did this.  Much of the "conference" is interaction with people, outside
of the panels.